Oct 23, 2010

Natralia Nourish Naturals Shampoo & Conditioner

I like to use "natural" products, the kind that says "FREE FROM sulfates, parabens, artificial colours and fragrances..." But I only like them IF they work. Which can be a quite rare occassion in the hair department, as in general those "natural" products  aren't just as good as the ones with "bad chemicals"....

Meet my newest best friends: Natralia Nourish Naturals Shampoo and the matching Conditioner, both for "Normal Hair". I was lucky enough to win them from Inspired Wellbeing. I've been using them regularly (every 2-3 days) since I run out of my Charles Worthington supplies about 5 weeks ago. 

It was love at the first smell - the scent is soooo refreshingly yummy, I caught myself smelling my hair every now and then. Must be the Mandarin Orange extracts. I also love how they make my long hair smooth, shiny, bouncy and feels light as feathers. No frustrating tangles at "in between" moments (when I've shampooed my hair, before I apply conditioner), no weighing down rich conditioner that weigh the hair down.

I really like them, I've been asking hubby to try it. You know, so we can have a "family shampoo" - theoritically having only one bottle in the bathroom, no need to buy 2 different brands. No joy so far, blokey hubby said he's happy using his cheapo shampoo. I'm not kidding, his shampoo costs less than $4 for a huge bottle... though it's probably for the better, as he likes to use a liberal amount of shampoo. Very liberally, it's a shocking waste of products. Though not as shocking as the amount of skincare products and other "beautifying things" I've collected over the years.... hahaha...

Anyway. One drawback with using these: I have to wash my hair more often. Which isn't a problem, it's as expected. I mean, I've used A'kin and other "natural" shampoos and conditioners before, they seem to require more hair washing to keep the "benefits" and to keep my hair feeling clean.

Verdict: "naturally" in love (pun intended). LOVE, I said, in case you haven't heard me the first time I said that. Super duper highly recommended. Especially for those of YOU who loves natural products! I'll be buying more in the future.

Now, over to you, my dear readers. What's your "natural love" of the moment??

Shampoo Ingredients: Aqua (purified australian water), cocoamidopropyl hydroxysultaine (coconut), disodium cocoamphodiacetate (coconut), coco-glucoside (and) glyceryl oleate (coconut & glucose), sodium lauroyl sarcosinate (palm), lauryl glucoside, (coconut & palm), citric acid (citrus fruit), guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride (guar), sodium hydroxymethylglycinate (plant protein), hydrolyzed what protein (protein), keratin (and) hydrolyzed keratin (plant protein), silk amino acids (plant protein), saccharomyces/zinc ferment (minerals from natural origin), panthenol (provitamin B5), methoxy cinnamidopropyl hydroxy sultaine (cinnamon), vitis vinifera (grape) seed extract, citrus nobilis (mandarin orange) fruit extract, saccharomyces/copper ferment (minerals from natural origin), biotin (vitamin H), retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), linoleic acid (vitamin F), oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil, tocopherol (vitamin E), limonene, geraniol, citral, linalool.

Conditioner Ingredients:  Aqua (purified australian water), behentrimonium methosulfate (rapeseed), cetearyl alcohol (botanical source),  citrus nobilis (mandarin orange) fruit extract, glycerin (botanical source), guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride (guar), cetearyl olivate (and) sorbitan olivate (olive), ethyl macadamiate (macadamia), hydrolyzed wheat protein (protein), methoxy cinnamidopropylhydroxy sultaine (cinnamon), saccharomyces/zinc ferment (minerals from natural origin), saccharomyces/copper ferment (minerals from natural origin), keratin (and) hydrolyzed keratin (plant protein), silk amino acids (plant protein), oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil, retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), tocopherol (vitamin E), linoleic acid (vitamin F), biotin (vitamin H), vinis vinifera (grape) seed extract, panthenol (provitamin B5), citric acid (citrus fruit), phenoxyethanol (and) ethylhexylglycerin (derived from plant), limonene, linalool, geraniol, citral.

Oct 19, 2010

Book Fever

Today is all about books. Just because I'm still having fever on and off this week. This "Woman Flu" is worst than what I had before. Thank God for books!

Here are the ones I've finished in the past few weeks. Look away if you don't like reading...

"A Healthy Place to Die" by Peter King - It's one of his Gourmet Detective series. I love the mix of murders and culinary adventures. There are some real cooking hints in there, and the way he describes food made me salivate sometimes... Overall a fun book to relax with.

"The Shakespeare Curse" by J.L. Carrell - Honestly I don't really like it. It has some good ideas, but I found the settings too creepy. I prefer her first book "The Shakespeare Secret". Basically both her books are historical fictions based on speculations about Shakespeare's life and how his plays came to being, peppered with quotations and historical facts about (who else) Shakespeare. I've never read nor seen any Shakespeare's plays, so in a way her books are quite "educational" in nature. Her endings are terrible though, she takes the easy way out of the complicated premises she has dangled throughout the books... not satisfying enough for this bookworm (= moi).

"Mozarella Most Murderous" by Nancy Fairbanks - I haven't read her books for ages, so it was good to be reminded of her sense of humour. Good adventurous fun, she is spot on in her descriptions of different nationalities involved. I had lot of LOL moments while reading it. Love it. The recipes included are fantastic, too.

"The Edge of Apocalypse" by Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall - For those of you who are fans of LaHaye's Left Behind series, don't expect this to be similar. It's different. In a good way, in my opinion. I found some parts in Left Behind books made me cringe at times. Not this book. To me the style is like a more sedate Grisham. Good, but not as engrossing as Ted Dekker's thrillers. What to do, I'm bias, I'm a huge fan of Ted Dekker. And not just because we grew up in the same country - Indonesia! :) And no, I've never met him. Not yet... hehehe... Btw, I've ordered a new Ted Dekker book from the library. Can't wait - his books always made me burn the midnight oil... (um, perhaps better not to have it before I get better...)

"Poirot Investigates" by Agatha Christie - I've read some of the short stories in this collection. Nevertheless, I still find Poirot irresistible. His grey cells are just amazing. I like reading Hasting's familiar blunders, too.
Yesterday I started reading Agatha Christie's play "Witness for the Prosecution", written as the original manuscript for the stage play, with instructions for stage direction, decor, and theatrical props. I found it a bit overwhelming at first, blame it on the fever. Once I started to get the hang of the manuscript, it's actually quite enjoyable.
So those are my recent book adventures. What have YOU read recently?

Oct 13, 2010

"Woman Flu", Anyone?

The famous "Man Flu" was over in 2 days, helped by endless amount of "Magnum P.I." on dvds. Until I hummed the theme song in my sleep...

Then "Woman Flu" attacked for 2 solid weeks. Sore throat, fever, body ache, swollen sinus, followed by itchy hives caused by allergic reaction to something - possibly the mosquito spray.

Thank God for online grocery shopping, internet connection (patchy service but useful regardless), heaps of books and newspapers. Kept me entertained while being stuck at home.

I'm supposed to trial something soon, hopefully it doesn't get lost in the post. I'll let you know what that is when I got it. Please don't nick my product, postwoman! :)

Sep 28, 2010

How Do You...

... deal with flu, especially if it's a "MAN'S FLU"???

The best answer will get my gratitude and a spot in my "Hall of Fame". :)

Sep 22, 2010

Charles Worthington Moisture-Seal Shampoo and Conditioner

Last week I finished my Charles Worthington Moisture-Seal Shampoo and the matching Moisture-Seal Conditioner. Sometimes I get bored easily, so using up two full-size bottles (250ml) brings a certain amount of satisfaction. I would have been able to do it sooner if I didn't use other brands in between. (As of today I own 4 big bottles of shampoos, 2 big + 2 small bottles of conditioners in my collection.) Yeah, can't help it, I like variety and having the options to treat my hair according to seasons and conditions. Especially after the last hair panic when I found some split-ends and the disaster caused by using dodgy product on hand... Eeeks, never again I'm left without any spare good quality conditioner!!!

Back to topic. For almost a decade I've been a fan of Charles Worthington products. It's the brand that I always come back to again and again in between dabbling with "organic" haircare. I've bought and used various shampoos, conditioners, hair serums, heat sprays, etc. from this UK brand. Mostly with great results.

It's hardly surprising to say that I love the Moisture-Seal Shampoo and Conditioner. They smell good and did what it said on the bottles, keeping my long hair nice and fluffy, conditioning without weighing it down. I especially love the practical flip-top bottles, though I think they're changing the packaging soon.

For those of you who are interested to try the range, their "Takeaways" or travel size products make fantastic introduction.

Verdict: what can I say, I'm a long-term fan! :)

Shampoo Ingredients: Aqua (water), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cocamide MIPA, Parfum (Fragrance), Polysorbate 20, Silicone Qaternium-16, Undeceth-11, Butyloctanol, Undeceth-5, Polyquaternium-10, Sodium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, Citric Acid, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Hydrolyzed rice Protein, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Propylene Glycol, Silicone Quaternium-8, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Benzotriazolyl Dodecyl p-Cresol, Phenoxyethanol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Hexylene Glycol, Citronellol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool.

Conditioner Ingredients: Aqua (water), Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Dimethicone, Parfum (Fragrance), Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sodium Benzoate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Citric acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, Laureth-23, C12-15 Pareth-3, camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Benzotriazolyl Butylphenol Sulfonate, Buteth-3, Tributyl Citrate, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Citronellol.

Sep 16, 2010

Benefit Eyecon Brightening Eye Cream

For the past 10 days I've been using Benefit Eyecon Brightening Eye Cream sample I received from my swap with GQ long, long time ago... So far I'm impressed with it. The supposed "fading action" really works, I can see the difference on the areas underneath my eyes - less shadow, perking up my appearance instantly. It doesn't "erase" the darkness completely, no super duper magical effect here, it works more like a "transparent" concealer, if it makes sense.

My skin absorbs the cream quickly, no crease settling under foundation, and no allergic reaction despite the long ingredients list. I had to squint when reading those tiny list! Well, they really worked to brighten my eyes noticeably. The cream isn't making the shadows go away, it gives light coverage that's good enough to be used on it's own when I'm in a hurry. Obviously vain me still use concealer when I have more time on my hands. Haha...

I'm not sure whether overtime the cream would improve my shadowy areas. For now I'm content enough finding something that makes noticeable difference, enough to make hubby said I looked "well rested" despite my lack of sleep. Hurrah, the eyecon really conned hubby! Thanks for the sample, GQ. :)
Verdict: the full size has made it to the top my "must buy" list.

Ingredients: water (aqua), ethylene/acrylic acid copolymer, butylene glycol, propylene glycol, dicaprylatedicaprate, squalane, glyceryl polymethacrylate, caprylic.capric tryglyceride, glycerin, steareth-21, linum usitatissum (linseed) seed extract, hexyldecanol, stearaliconium hectorite, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, steareth-2, stearic acid, glyceryl hydrosyctearate, sodium polyacrylate, methylparaben alcohol denat, chlorphenesin, dimethicone, propylene carbonate, tocopheryl acetate, althaea officinalis root extract, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) fruit extract, hesperidin, methyl chalcone, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, steareth-20, tromethamine, butylparaben, ehtylparaben, propylene glycol, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ protein, chlorhexidinedigluconate, titanium dioxide (Cl77891), tetrasodium edta, propylparaben, avena sativa (oat) kernel protein, isobutylparaben, theobroma cacao (cocoa) extract, sodium hyaluronate, sangusorba officinalus root extract, xanthan gum, phenoxyethanol, pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, caprylic/capric/suconic triglyceride, dipeptide-2, potassium sorbate, eriobotrya japonica leaf extract, plankton extract, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3.

Sep 15, 2010

Innoxa Line-Defying Eye Creme

I bought Innoxa Line-Defying Eye Creme when my favourite eye contour gel (Germaine de Capuccini = GdC) turned super runny. Which wasn't the gel's fault, really, as it had served me faithfully for about a year (12 months expiry date on the tube).

The blurb said, "Targets lines, wrinkles & dark circles around the delicate eye area. Specifically formulated to help reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles and dark circles around the delicate eye area. Anti-Age for All Skin Types including Sensitive. 100% Fragrance Free. Ophthalmologically Tested. Dermatologically Tested."

I've been using the eye creme since my arrival in Cairns. I bought it specifically as I had dark circles for not having enough sleep.

Good things first: great texture, makes great base for under eye (as long as I leave it to dry first before applying concealer), doesn't irritate my eyes, not greasy.

Bad things: it doesn't help to diminish the panda eyes, it doesn't help preventing new lines appearing as I have deeper lines than when I was using GdC. Now that I've typed up the ingredients list I realize that it's scarily long, too. It must be one of those times when I forgot to look at the list closely before buying. Hey, I'm not perfect! Haha...

This affordable eye cream didn't work for me. Which leads me to the conclusion that I have to splurge to get decent quality eye cream. Brands that work like Elemis and GdC. Which aren't available in Cairns. Sigh.

Verdict: no good effect seen even after 6 months of using. I won't be re-purchasing.

Ingredients: Aqua (water), caprylic/capric triglyceride, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, isohexadecane, saccharide isomerate, sodium hyaluronate, dimethicone, cetyl alcohol, isostearyl isostearate, hydrogenated polyisobutene, petrolatum, glyceryl stearate, steareth-20, cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, crosspolymer, acetyl glutamyl hexapeptide-1, glyceryl stearate, PEG-75 stearate, ceteth-20, symmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, cera alba (beeswax), polyacrylamide, C13-14 isoparaffin, laureth-7, palmitoyl oligopeptide, glycerin, tribehenin, ceraminde 2, PEG-10, rapeseed sterol, xanthan gum, hydroxysuccinimide, chrysin, palmotoyl tetrapeptide-3 urea, saccharide hydrolysate, magnesium aspartate, glycine, alanine, creatine, retinyl palmitate/carrot polypeptides, ascorbic acid/citrus polypeptides, tocopherol/what polypeptides, disodium EDTA, silica, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, chlorphenesin, may contain: Cl 7789 (titanium dioxide), Cl 77491 (iron oxides).

Sep 14, 2010

Chouquette, Gateaux, Eclairs

Back in July I had a little trip to Brisbane. At that time I was missing French pastries, so much so that I dragged hubby and his brother to New Farm to visit an authentic French Patisserie called  Chouquette, which is actually the name of one of my favourites pastries (pictured above).

As I suspected, the long walk from the city was totally worth it. There were so many things to choose from, everything looked beautiful and yummy. The seatings inside and outside the cafe were full, so  we bought some to take away.

I bought this Gateaux with chocolate macaron on top (above picture) and a bag of Chouquette to share between us. The men bought some apple tarts. Everything was very delicious, very French, and comes in very generous portions. Three of us agree that they tasted very authentic, unlike some bogus macarons sold in Asia. My brother-in-law said the girls behind the counters were cute, too. LOL.

The next time I'm in Brisbane I would like to stay closer to the patisserie so I can have my daily indulgent there. You should, too, if you have the chance to go there. Highly recommended! :)

P.S. all the pictures here are taken from their webpage. I didn't bother taking pictures of the ones we bought as they looked very similar.

Sep 10, 2010

Garnier CleanSensitive 2 in 1 Waterproof Make-Up Remover

I'm pleased to announce that Garnier CleanSensitive 2 in 1 Waterproof Make-Up Remover has officially got rid of the bad taste left by the recent power-cuts. Not powerful enough to wipe Labour out of this world though. *wink*

Back to wiper remover. It has been ages since I find a makeup remover that makes me excited because it works well. This is one of those rare occassions. I bought this some months ago when I ran out of sweet almond oil (fantastic for removing waterproof eye makeup, by the way). Over the years I've emerged to be a bit more of a brand snob, but every now and then I find good stuffs in reliable/old-fashioned brands. Like Garnier. I used to love one of their day moisturiser until they discontinued it. Pity that, it was a good stuff.

I digress. Okay, waterproof remover. I really love this, I wonder why I didn't try it earlier. Unlike some dodgy products marketed with the word "sensitive", this product is kind to my skin, for real. It doesn't sting (no alcohol) - a big fat tick from me. It doesn't cause my face to puff up in allergic reaction.

Secondly, it removes my waterproof makeup easily. No tugging nor pulling involved. Which is very important, as I'm using more waterproofs makeup nowadays. Living in humid (and slightly backward - I'm still hating the 23 hour power cut!) Cairns means non-waterproof mascaras and liners smudged as soon as I finished putting them on.

Back to topic. This Garnier product also removes my "foundation of the moment" easily and quickly. This ability, I really, really like. Reason: the said foundation is from Revlon, who some said are renown for the super staying power - I'll write about the foundation next time, if there's no more power cut, God (or Labour or ?) willing...

What's with the "2 in 1" tag? It's both a blue liquid makeup remover oil and clear cleansing water (toner in layman's term?) in one. More big fat tick from me.

The only thing that's bugging me, and it's a pretty big bug, too, is the size of the hole on the flip-top. Everytime I used it I always spilled the liquid everwhere. Somehow I can't soak the cotton wools without having liquid spill on my arm, leg, or the floor. Can't blame this klutz, it's not as if I'm pouring the content to cotton wools. The spill happens even when the cotton wool is position tightly covering the hole. This, I don't love.

Verdict: Affordable waterproof make-up remover that works. I like it very, very much, it has been an important first step in my double-cleansing regime. The status will be upgraded to LOVE if the huge hole problem is fixed. :)

Ingredients: aqua/water, cyclopentasiloxane, isohexadecane, isopropyl palmitate, panthenol, rosa centifolia/rosa centifolia flower water, dipotassium phosphate, poloxamer 184, polyaminopropyl biguanide, potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, CL 61565/Green6. (F.I.L. B26656/1).

Sep 8, 2010

Another Power Cut

The title says it all. Now you know why I can't blog as regularly as I did.

I'm officially living in an un-civilized place. Even "developing countries" don't have this much power cut. Atrocious. Perhaps it's to "celebrate" Labour being in power again?! Now that they've won the election, looks like they have started cuttting services. So NOT supporting Labour. Blah.

Sep 2, 2010

Napoleon Perdis Protégé Lip Gloss

Firstly, picture of The Aromatherapy Bar Soap is now up.

Back to business. I received NP Protégé Lip Gloss limited edition for doing a survey. The packaging says: "This limited edition strawberry-flavoured lip gloss is the secret to lustrous lips 24/7. A built-in mirror ensures ease of application, while Bees Wax nourishes and protects your pout. Result: lips are left super-shiny."

I was intrigued when I first read about the mirror description on the box. I thought it would be like a Nina Ricci lipstick I had many years ago: mirror on the side of the lipstick cover, to make it easier to touch up. Imagine my disappointment when I saw the mirror is actually on the back of the applicator, making it impossible to see your reflection while applying it... What's the point then? A bit daft in my opinion, why can't they stick it on the side of the tube instead??

Enough with the mirror rants. The gloss actually tastes like strawberry smoothie, even the textures makes me think of smoothie. I love the light peachy-tone (I'm not sure whether you can tell from the picture). On its own it creates glossy nude lips. Worn on top of lipliner it creates a stronger but subtle effect.

Verdict: I like. :) Apart from the silly mirror - what were they thinking?! Really...

Ingredients: Polyisobutylene, 2-Ethylhexylp Almitate, Paraffin, Poly-isobutylene, White Mineral Oil, Gellants, Butylated Hydroxystearic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis, 2-Phenoxyethanol, Mineral Oil, Silica Dimethyl SSilylate, Butyrospernum Parkii Seed Oil, Synthetic Beeswax, Bisabolol, D & C Red No. 6 Iron Oxides, Yellow Iron Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Perfume.

Aug 29, 2010

Starving and Cold: Power Cut in Australia

We've been without electricity for 13 hours straight. No electricity = no lights, no ignition for cooking, food going bad in the fridge and freezer. No hot water, no heating, nothing. I'm writing this using the leftover power in my netbook battery. You would think we're living in the dark ages. In Cairns, Australia. A civilized country.

Good thing we have plenty of candles and blankets. I ate dry cereals for breakfast, hubby ate peanut butter sandwiches. The perishables in the fridge and freezer are dying by the second. Might have to go out for lunch. Could be tricky: we have no car & it's raining cats and dogs outside.

Electricity provider said it's the complex's fault (we live in a complex). Building manager said it's electricity provider's fault. Rental property manager went mad when we rang him up middle of the night, even though our rental contract said that no electricity = emergency situation. Obviously his "managing" skill only consists of taking our rental money. I wonder if we could sue him for that, and for the distress caused.

Whose fault is this? Who knows. All I want is for the power to be restored back. Soon.

Aug 26, 2010

Alpha-H Micro Cleanse

According to the website, Alpha-H Micro Cleanse with 12% Glycolic Acid, Cucumber Extract and Rice Bran is "A granulated exfoliant formulated to help dislodge dead skin cells and oil from pores. An entire beauty regime in a bottle: deep cleanser, exfoliator, polish, mask, all-in-1."

I generally used it as a heavy-duty exfoliator, never tried it as a mask. To me the texture feels exactly the same as Elemis Skin Buff. The granules are more like "tiny gritty bits", harder than those beaded type scrubs. Thus massage it gently, otherwise you might scratch your skin accidentally. For this reason I don't use it on broken skin or whenever my skin feels more sensitive. Under normal condition, my skin always feels smoother after application. As a bonus: fingers used to apply the scrub are smoothly exfoliated, too.

The smell reminds me of toothpaste and left a minty feeling on the skin. Must be the peppermint oil.

Verdict: a good heavy-duty scrub. I personally prefer Elemis, based on the scent and force of habit. :) 

Ingredients: Aqua, Glycolic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, Potassium Hydroxide, Polyethylene Beads, Glycerin, Ceteth-20, Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dimethicone.

P.S. I hate the internet connection here. Going on Blogger is frustratingly slow and unfruitful most times. :(

Aug 21, 2010

The Aromatherapy Company Tuberose Essential Soap Bar

Meet my new love: The Aromatherapy Company Tuberose Essential Soap Bar . This gorgeous smelling triple-milled soap is made in New Zealand. The packaging said, "This blend contains the Essential Oil of Rose Geranium, Tuberose (calming and soothing), Organic Manuka Honey and Organic Avocado Oil to nourish & soothe sensitive skin."

The claim must be true, it doesn't irritate the excema patch I have on my leg. Which is quite a good thing, considering most bar soaps dries out my skin. This big bar of soap (145gr) seems to be gentle and lasts a long time - I've been using it in the shower for at least 3 months.

I don't remember seeing the soap anywhere else, so I suspect that this particular scent has been discontinued. A quick trip to the website confirms my suspicion.

Blurb on the website: "The Aromatherapy Company products are 100% pure & natural. We use no sodium laurel sulphates, no artificial fragrance, no dyes, no parabens and no mineral oils. We do not test on animals and our packaging is 85% totally recyclable."

Verdict: Doesn't dry my skin + doesn't irritate excema + value for money = LOVE.

Ingredients: Sodium Palmate (PALM OIL), Sodium Cocoate (COCONUT OIL), Water, Sodium Chloride (SALT), Glycerin, Bran, Organic Manuka Honey, Organic Avocado Oil, Titanium Dioxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Etidronate, Rose Geranium Essential Oil blend, Hydroxyisohexene Carbozidehyde*, Linalool* (*Natural ingredients of essential oils)

Aug 20, 2010

Pantene and 3 Minute Miracle Treatment

I don't normally use Pantene products. Somehow it always caused itchiness on my scalp. Same with hubby. Everytime I tried it again I always ended up regretting it.

For example, back in November I received a full bottle of Pantene conditioner to try. Since it was labelled "new formulation", I decided to give it a try. My hair felt light and smooth for about a week (3 hairwashes), no itchiness on my scalp. The following week, the itchiness started. Itchiness stopped when I stopped using it - definitely something in Pantene conditioner. I gave it away to MIL not long after. I'm not sure whether she has used it since...

With that kind of background I wasn't sure what to expect when I saw a 15ml Pantene 3 Minute Miracle Treatment sample on my doorstep last week. The question is, "To try or not to try."

"Try" wins. Simply because I discovered a few strands of my hair has split-ends. I was desperate, I don't normally gets them! With 130+ boxes to deal with I have no time to waste. So yesterday I tried it. My hair felt super soft afterwards. Must be the silicone working. I survived the whole day without itchiness. Didn't last long though, this morning my scalp started to feel itchy. Why, oh, why, don't I ever learnt anything from the past?! Was the itch worth it? Answer: no.

Ironically, my sister swears by Pantene to keep her hair in good conditions. Perhaps the next time I'm tempted to try Pantene product(s) again I should gave them away to her, without delay.
Verdict: good conditioning product if used by itch-resistant people like my sis. As for me, I'm staying away. Far, far away...
Ingredients: Water, Bis-Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Stearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Benzyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Lysine HCl, Methyl Tyrosinate HCl, Sodium Hydroxide, Histidine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone/Methylisothiazolinone.

130+ Boxes...

After many months of waiting, our worldly goods arrived from UK on Monday. Our rented place is filled with boxes and more boxes. That, and the terrible internet connection here, counts for my blogging hiatus. In the perfect world I would sell almost everything and get ready to move somewhere else again, just because of the poor internet connection.

Many boxes = many treasures (and junks) found. It's unbeliavable the amount of skincare and makeup products I unearthed so far, almost rivalling the amount of hubby's many electrical cables, wires, and what-nots... If internet connection is behaving well, I'll start posting more reviews and travelling photos soon.

Aug 5, 2010

The Quorn Supremacy

I'm very pleased to say that my beloved Quorn has arrived in Australian shores! :) I'm not entirely sure whether they've only just arrived here or whether they came here during my last overseas stint. No matter, I'm soooooo glad it's here.

Just to clarify: it's not a new skincare brand. Hehehe...

This UK invention is such a life-saver for vegetarians or would be vegetarians who don't like the taste of soya mince. Myself, I'm a "mostly vegetarian" person who still loves eating the occasional chicken, crabs and non-smelly white fish.

What exactly are they? Blurb from their webpage: "Mycoprotein is the common ingredient in all Quorn products. It's made from a member of the fungi family (the same family that morels and truffles belong to) and is a high-quality meat-free protein that's low in fat, high in dietary fibre (important for your digestive system) and is a valuable source of amino acids."

My favourite is definitely Quorn Sausages: perfect for BBQ, pizza topping, "toad in a hole", etc. My 2nd favourite: Quorn Pieces - lovely as chicken replacement in recipes, absorbing the flavour of the sauce easily.

They're so tatsy, even Meat Monster doesn't mind eating them. Which is a huge complement considering he doesn't like most "fake meat".

Talking about food makes me hungry. I'm getting Quorn Schnitzel on my next shopping trip. Yum. :)

Aug 2, 2010

Hello From Down Under

Hello everyone! :)

How time flies, it has been 4 months since my last post. I'm feeling a bit guilty for neglecting the blog and my banters with my cyber-friends. The combination of relocating, family matters, and ill-health have been preventing me from blogging. The terrible internet connection at my new place doesn't help either - I'm still in Australia, but not  in Sydney anymore. If you're still reading this, I'm going to tell you a bit of it.

Hubby found a job in FNQ (Far North Queensland), to be exact: in Cairns, which is one of the gateways to the world-famous Great Barrier Reefs. It's one of the seven wonders of the natural world. We relocated here during jelly fish seasons, so we haven't had the chance to explore the reefs yet. Plus being unwell means I'm not healthy enough (yet!) to do snorkelling - can't do diving, ever, as I have dodgy sinuses amongst my other problems.

Anyway, I'm not complaining. I'm thankful enough that I'm still alive and sort-of well enough to enjoy things here. Cairns has humid-tropical weather because of it's location. So far we've had mild winter here, not too humid, not too hot, just right.

Our worldy things are still on the way from England. Once they're here we would be able to take our snorkelling gears out for a test-drive in Queensland's waters.

That's from me for now. I hope my blogging skill isn't too rusty. Do drop me a line if you're still around. Cheers! :)

Mar 31, 2010

Sephora in Singapore and Crazylibellule Update

As much as possible I like to keep my promises. So here is the fulfilment for one of them! :)

I was in Singapore when I finished my 2nd bottle of Mario Badescu's Buffering Lotion (it's good for cystic acne, next time I'll do a separate post about the product itself). A quick online search showed that Sephora is on the list of Mario Badescu stockists in Singapore. I became super excited when I found out that there are 2 branches: one at ION and one at Takashimaya. Out of curiosity I went to both. 

I'll start with my trip to ION. First impression: the store looked tidy and orderly, with very bright white lights. The overall effect is almost too sanitized, if you get what I mean. I was quite happy to see they stocked many brands that aren't normally found in Asia. Though Sephora seemed to be playing a little "too safe" by stocking familiar names on the side: like MAC, Clarins, and other usual department stores brands. I suppose it's a business, not a charity, so they have to try to maximise their chance of profitting from both familiar and not so familiar brands.

The very first counter I checked out was MUFE: to admire the mascaras and eyeliners. Admirably, I did NOT buy any of them - I was (and am) still sticking to my Post and Shame Challenge. I didn't wavered and didn't let any of the Aqua Eyes tempt me. I did feel a little sadness when I abandoned the counters, such good products... (yeah, reviews of MUFE I have are coming up soon!). The SA there was very nice and polite, a breath of fresh air in a country where the service standard can be below the par of other Asian countries.

Second counter on my list was MB. Did Sephora have the product I was after? Well, yes and no. Yes, because I saw a tester bottle on the counter. No, because they didn't allow me to buy an individual product: the Buffering Lotion was sold in a pack with 2 other products that I don't have the need of. The didn't sell it individually. Even my pleading didn't work, the lovely SA asked the manager whether it's possible for me to buy the BL only - to which the answer was "NO". I didn't think it was worth spending about $150 to get a product I want plus 2 others that I don't really want. And no, I can't be bothered selling the other 2. Afterall, I was (and I still am) living on suitcases - not much extra space and not much time to flog what I don't want. So yeah, with much regret I said goodbye to MB counter and moved on.

I wondered around, bypassing some UK brands (obviously, since I just moved on from UK), and stopped only when I saw familiar cute packagings in front of me. Some of you might remember my older post about Crazylibellule Crazy Stick Solid Perfumes. After much sniffing and trying on the skin, I decided that they're not really for me. Granted the packagings are as cute and as chic as on the website. Pity the most important thing about the perfumes (read: scents) didn't blow me away. I only liked 2 or 3 from the whole collection. They didn't pass the "skin test" either, as in they didn't smell as good on my skin. One actually gave me a headache. Which signals the end of my trip to ION Sephora. No purchase whatsoever - disappointing considering I was sucked into Sephora-hype after reading many good words about the ones in USA and France.

My trip to the branch at Takashimaya was pretty uneventful. I saw, I went in, I came out again a few minutes later. There wasn't anything worth looking that I haven't seen before. The SAs also looked scarily snooty. My words of advice for "you who are passing by Singapore": go to Sephora at ION, it's much bigger than Takashimaya branch. Plus the SAs are much nicer.

Conclusion: I'll try my luck with other Sephora stores in other countries next time. Or just be content with the online store...

On a more personal note: I'm still busy trying to sort things out here. Moving country is never easy, there are many joys and pains that come with it. So, till next time, my faithful readers! :) 

Mar 16, 2010

It's NOT a Competition

Recognize the famous building in this picture? Click here for the answer.
I'm in Sydney now! Unbelievable, I know...

A lot of things happened since my last post. Last week we received the long awaited news on Tuesday, left Singapore on Thursday evening, arriving in Australia on Friday. Last minute news = last minute arrangements. Plus hubby's paranoia about his health and other things, my plate is full at the moment. I'll start blogging on what I intended to blog about soon. :)

Mar 9, 2010

I Set Out to Find Something, I Found Another Instead

"There are many things in life I'd like to find:

I set out to find a good mascara,
I found an "almost perfect" one instead.
I set out to find a good lip gloss,
I found a forgotten one from my stash instead.
I set out to find a good skincare routine,
I found a brilliant dermatologist instead.

I set out to be an archaeologist,
I found my calling in music instead.
I set out to find a new adventure,
I found many old adventures being re-lived instead.
I set out to find a place to settle in,
I found real friends in my time of trials instead.

Life is full of unexpected things,
The Lord my God leads me through them all."
- by Music, 08 March 2010, Singapore

Music the Vagabond is back! :) How's everyone?

Life is like a round of carousel at the moment. First I was in Indonesia. Then I was in Singapore. Followed by another stint in Indonesia. The circle comes around with my being in Singapore again. I enjoyed celebrating Christmas and Chinese New Year with family and friends I haven't seen for many years.

Despite the good times (and much food-chomping), I still long to settle in "a country in the southern hemisphere" like I mentioned before. Alas, the waiting time is longer than what hubby and I thought would be. If the saying "all good things come to those who wait" is really true, I'm hoping to find a big bucket of gold at the end of the rainbows after the rains. Well, make it a big bucket filled with Godiva chocolates and HG products. And funky shoes. And round-the-world flight tickets. And many more. Hehehe...

I hope my writing skill isn't getting rusty after being away for what seems to be a looooong time in the blogging world. I didn't have reliable and/or cheap access to internet where I was, followed by a time of bad health, thus the absence. But those were minor inconveniences compared to the more important things in life at the moment.
Anyway, I'll try to start writing more regularly again, hopefully soon. Now I need a lot of time to catch up with my reading list, and my sleep. It's after midnight where I am! Zzzzzzzzzzz.....

Feb 2, 2010

Winners for Mystery Giveaway and Other News

Thanks to everybody who entered my Mystery Giveaway. The winners (chosen by random.org) are: Anna, Joanne, and Vanessa.  Please email me your address so I can send your prezzies asap.

For those who aren't lucky enough this time, it could be your turn the next time around. A company has kindly offered to sponsor a giveaway. Stay in tune! :)

Now, to more personal news. Forgive my long absence, being on the move means I haven't had enough time and opportunities to be in the blogosphere regularly. As of today hubby and I are still in-between countries. There are things outside our control that contribute to that. Hopefully we would be able to know more about our next destination sometime this month, God willing.

Am I nervous? You bet. Am I excited? Without a doubt. I'm grateful for having friends and family who are being (mostly) understanding and supportive through this transition period. One sentence to sum up what I'm trying to say: in God we trust

And no, we're not moving to USA, partly because "There are no cats in America" - I can't possibly live in a place that has no cats! Hehehe... FYI, it's a song from the movie "An American Tail", which was one of my favourite movies when I grew up.

Things to come:
- visiting Sephora stores in Singapore.
- reviews for MUFE Aqua Eyes eyeliners and mascara (as promised here).
- more photos & travel stories.
- post(s) about music (I haven't forgotten your request, Anna).
- post about acne-busting products (nor have I forgotten yours, Clorivak).

'till next time!

Music the Vagabond

Jan 16, 2010

Better Than Cinderella

You've seen the pictures of Kereta Kencana. Now you can see pictures of other coaches kept at the keraton museum in Yogjakarta. According to the guide, they're mainly made in Netherlands, Germany, Yogjakarta, and Solo. All the coaches have their own special names. I didn't write down the names of the following coaches. Suffice to say looking at some of them made me wanting to be a princess! :)

Which one is your favourite? Sorry can't give you bigger pictures, it would have taken me forever to upload.

On a different tone, I had my first trip to Sephora in Singapore the other day. I'll tell you more about it next time.

Jan 13, 2010

Kareta Karaton Nyangyogyakarta

I thought this picture is a perfect start to the re-telling of my adventures in Yogjakarta, which is situated somewhere in the middle of Java Island in Indonesia. It was my third trip there, the first one for hubby. My cousin L was assigned by his parents to be our tour guide/driver. I can tell you that he did a very good job! :)

The picture was taken outside the Museum Kareta Karaton Nyangyogyakarta (= Museum of Palace Coaches in Yogjakarta). Keraton is the palace where the king and his workers live, the reminder of an ancient Javanese kingdom, before it became part of Republic Indonesia. This museum is still used as the royal stables, where they keep coaches and horses belonging to the king. The present ruler is known as Hamengkubuwono X.

The most important coach they keep there is Kereta Kencana (= the Royal Coach). This coach has been used on coronations of a number of kings, 8 horses are needed to pull it. Local legend says that it was impossible to take pictures of this royal coach using manual cameras, as they always came out as blank pictures when the films had been processed. Not sure why exactly.

I've made sure that the pictures hubby took are here for you to see. But if for some reason you can't see them, let me know, the legend might be true for you afterall. So here goes: 3 pictures in total.

Kereta Kencana

Interior View - taken by tall hubby

Notice the golden fruits decorations. They symbolise prosperity.

Jan 12, 2010

Gift With No Purchase

I bought these cute sandal keyrings on my last trip to Yogjakarta, Indonesia. The top part is made of real traditional batik cloth, with rubber on the bottom part of the tiny sandals.

Now, the dilema is: should I include them in my Mystery Giveaway? As I'm currently in "no man's land" (= in between countries), I'm extending the closing date to 31 January. To be fair, those who had entered before 31 Dec 09 are automatically given another extra entry to show my appreciation. It's my giveaway, my rules! Hehehe...

What I Do With My Hands...

My hands aren't good for making music only, I love to do things using my hands. That includes cooking, baking, doing crafts, and doing household chores!! LOL. After some dilly-dallying, I'm finally feeling brave enough to show you some of the things I made in my spare time. Warning: it's my very first foray into this type of craft. Look away if you don't like them. Hehehe...

Necklace: silver beads on an adjustable leather string.

The next 2: hairclips decorated with natural & man-made materials. I used silver wire to tie everything together - no offense, stucked on glue are sooo last season! Hehehe...

What do you think?

Psst... I've officially made them a part of my Mystery Giveaway...

P.S. I assert my right as the designer & maker of the above items. I don't believe that immitation isn't the biggest form of flattery. Therefore: copying my ideas without my permission = stealing, punishable by your own conscience and also by law (they're copyrighted). 

Jan 10, 2010

The Mystery Continues...

Dear my lovely readers,

It's been ages since my last "proper" post . Not my fault, really, as my relatives kept us busy. I think hubby felt a bit overwhelmed and blowned away by their hospitality and unusual habits. He couldn't believe how much eating and snacking happened in my family!! We talked a lot, ate a lot, laughed a lot, then ate some more, travelled a bit, followed by more talking, more eating, and more everything. In a nutshell, the last trip to Indonesia was quite full-on, kept me busy from morning to evening. At the end of most days I collapsed in exhaustion. 28 days of good exhaustion if I may say so. *grin*

Thus my disappearance from the blogging world. I shan't be missing for long once I manage to get some proper computer time again. Afterall, I have loads of stories to tell, like the ones that go with the collage above - notice the lady in the hat: it's your's truly. Hehehe...

Which brings me to another point: I'm typing this in a hotel room in Singapore. How long am I going to be here? Only God knows. Like I said, I'm in the process of relocating to another country.

Now, tying up loose ends. About the Mystery Giveaway. I haven't taken photographs of the prezzies yet. I haven't drawn the winners either. My deepest apology.  Since they're supposed to be "mysterious", I'm going to show some of the prezzies soon. I would also like to extend the giveaway due date to another week or so. I know, it's been ages. Sorry again. I'll also try to be fair to those who have entered previously. The details will be on my next post. Promise.

Time to sleep, I'm looking like Garfield right now...

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